Ealing Labour 4 Corbyn’s open letter to Ealing and other MPs re Code of Conduct motion

On Monday, a group of Labour MPs will bring an ’emergency motion’ – almost identical to one they already debated at last week’s meeting of the ‘PLP’ (parliamentary Labour party) that mainstream media outlets are claiming might ‘force’ Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to rescind the party’s excellent new Code of Conduct in favour of wholesale, unqualified adoption of the ‘IHRA working definition’ of antisemitism and its widely-criticised accompanying examples.

MPs do not have any power under Labour’s rules to force the NEC to do anything – and they have representatives on the NEC,  which agreed to approve the code last week.

An increasing number of Labour figures have started to express their support for the new code, while ‘centrist’ MPs and the ‘MSM’ continue to present it as soft on antisemitism.

Now EL4C (Ealing Labour for Corbyn), one of the best known Labour campaign groups, has published an open letter to the MPs in its borough and is asking those who agree with its message to share it on their social media and tag their MP to make them and the public aware of their opinion.

The letter:

  • points to the opinion of a respected Jewish authority on antisemitism
  • supports the Code of Conduct
  • condemns the ‘unacceptable’ behaviour of those MPs behind the ’emergency’ motion
  • points out the importance that the IHRA document describes itself as a ‘working definition’
  • leaves room for further amendments to the code while protecting free speech on Israel and Palestine and
  • ‘unreservedly’ condemns the behaviour of Labour MP Margaret Hodge

el4c open1

el4c open2

Those who do share it to their MPs are asked to ensure it is done with complete civility. The original tweet of the open letter can be found here.

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26 responses to “Ealing Labour 4 Corbyn’s open letter to Ealing and other MPs re Code of Conduct motion

  1. Hodge knew exactly what she was doing and the row it would cause. She should be suspended and apologise for the damage she has caused.

    • What’s eating her up is that she was one of the people who – in the interests of balance, naturally – supported Corbyn’s inclusion on the ballot paper of the first of the recent leadership elections. This patronising gesture hoist her on her own petard!

      I hope she appreciates irony!

  2. While this may be happening in private: I’ve yet to see any critics of Labour’s new Code of Conduct actually express what changes they would like to see except for the somewhat cliched “adopt the IHRA definition and examples in full”. This isn’t a position which can be debated to find a consensus, it’s simply “my way or the highway”.

    Many of the claims about the NEC’s adopted Code of Conduct are patently false if one takes the time to actually read it. One particular example is claims the Code of Conduct allows Israeli policies to be compared to Nazi behaviour. Not only does para.16 state “Labour members should resist the use of Hitler, Nazi and Holocaust metaphors, distortions and comparisons in debates about Israel-Palestine in particular. In this sensitive area, such language carries a strong risk of being regarded as prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Party within Clause 2.I.8.” but the IHRA examples don’t actually say that comparisons to Nazism is anti-Semitic, only that “taking into account the overall context” such language “could” be an example of antisemitism.

    In addition, this much vaunted “international standard” defitinition has exactly 8 Nations who have adopted it (according to IHRA website) – the United Kingdom (12 December 2016), Israel (22 January 2017), Austria (25 April 2017), Romania (25 May 2017), Germany (20 September 2017), Bulgaria (18 October 2017), Lithuania (24 January 2018), former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (6 March 2018). In addition Scotland (27 April 2017) and City of London (8 February 2017) have signed up separate to the U.K.

    • “City of London (8 February 2017) have signed up separate to the U.K.”

      The CoL is not part of the UK it is a separate sovereign entity a bit like the Vatican. Nor is it part of the EU. It has been a separate sovereign entity since I think 1688. The Queen is not the sovereign of CoL.

      • I was unaware of that (about the City of London) … always nice to learn new things.

        And Richard – you’re right I should include links to sources.

    • eloise620, Thanks for the post. The facts you present in the last paragraph were new to me and they are striking. International = 8 countries!!!! However I wish you’d shared a link along with the information you’ve copied and pasted – I’ve been caught out recently when taking people at their word, so now I always check sources. Your facts are safe, but it took me a while to find the info on the IHRA site. Sharing the link here to save anyone else the time of looking it up. https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/index.php/news-archive/working-definition-antisemitism

    • While that is quite true … surely we don’t need to split hairs and can accept that while semitic people include more than just Jewish, the term antisemitic DOES refer to being against Jews.

      • but do bear in mind that only this week the Israelis have deemed arabs cannot seek self determination inside Israel which is one of the definition examples that Ms Hodge is demanding of the Labour party

      • Semite’s, as defined on Wikipedia, include Jewish people AND Palestinians, plus other Arab races. Therefore anti-semitism applies to insults and degradation of Palestinians as well as Jew’s. Israelies have been documented throwing anti-semitic insults at Palestinians, which makes them anti-semites!

  3. In criminal law victims’ perception of their experience does not determine whether a crime has occurred, the guilt of the accused or the sentence – and for very good reasons.
    Adoption of the IHRA definition and examples as they stand would allow any imagined slight to be actionable.
    The examples are written in the most simplistic and vague terms and have already allowed the document to be used for political chicanery.
    I would be interested to learn whether the definition has resulted in any actual prosecutions.

    • If want to inform yourself further about the legalities around this then you may find this article interesting
      Former appeal court judge Stephen Sedley wrote last year that “the IHRA definition offers encouragement to pro-Israel militants whose targets for abuse and disruption in London have recently included the leading American scholar and critic of Israel Richard Falk, and discouragement to university authorities which do not want to act as censors but worry that the IHRA definition requires them to do so.”
      https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n09/stephen-sedley/defining-anti-semitism

      • I could be way off base and if I am I apologise unreservedly – but desecration of Jewish graves by smashing headstones is the only evidence of antisemitism I remember seeing news of in the UK – the most recent google example of which was dated May 2016.

        I’ve seen no news of Jews refused service, refused accommodation, refused employment, prevented from running for office… basically nothing.
        It’s true that I don’t read the papers much these days but surely such examples of antisemitism would be all over the news?
        Even the blacklisting of known left wing workers made the news in a small way – actual examples of antisemitism would be jumped on by the MSM surely, if only to prove antisemitism is real?

        Maybe it’s just that my memory’s worse than I thought. Except…
        Here’s a list published by the CST (Community Security Trust) of people convicted of antisemitic offences in UK courts.
        They don’t say whether it’s a comprehensive list.

        Charles Panayi, James Evans, Paul Pawlowski, Alister William Coutts, Majid Mahmood, Kasimiersz Winiarski, Glenn Okafor, Richard Gary Reed, Jose Manuel Silva, Timothy Rustige, Not Named for Legal Reasons, Jason Galvin, David Bitton.

        No, this isn’t a month’s worth, this is a YEAR’S worth of antisemitism convictions in the UK.

  4. According to an author of the IHRA working definition, numerous legal cases invoking the definition in the US have failed: “Some right-wing Jewish groups, and individuals, have tried to overstep the bounds of the clarification by filing Title VI cases arguing that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, educational programs about the occupation of the West Bank, and anti-Israel classroom texts and speakers transgressed the definition and were evidence of a Title VI violation. All the cases lost.” https://www.thecanary.co/uk/2018/07/22/labour-was-right-to-clarify-the-ihra-antisemitism-examples-just-ask-the-man-who-defined-them/

  5. If only the mainstream media outlets could be so informative on the subject! I am so tired of reading biased opinions, purporting to be fact.

  6. Imagine if Labour were to write to outside organisations asking for copies of their constitutions and then demanding they rewrite them as we wish or we will call them out for being anti-democratic, just a thought?
    Good points above about only 8 countries (out of 197?) adopting the international definition and when are to Tories going to have an internal inquiry on Islamophobia?
    Focus should be on building community solidarity amongst diverse working people and building support for left wing democratic socialist ideas. Solidarity!

  7. Pingback: Labour & antisemitism – davelevy.info·

  8. Looks like the UK parliament only accepted the IHRA definition with caveats.
    Does this mean they are antisemitic?

    https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmhaff/136/13605.htm

    Antisemitism in the UK 2016.

    We broadly accept the IHRA definition, but propose two additional clarifications to ensure that freedom of speech is maintained in the context of discourse about Israel and Palestine, without allowing antisemitism to permeate any debate. The definition should include the following statements:

    It is not antisemitic to criticise the Government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.
    It is not antisemitic to hold the Israeli Government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli Government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest antisemitic intent.

    • Nice find Iain, this is a recommendation by the Home Affairs Select Committee, but did the government act on this advice when it formally adopted the IHRA Working Definition? Where would you find that information?

      • No, they rejected the advise and adopted IHRA and examples without any changes.
        It is worth noting however that one of the one of the members of the Home Affairs Select Committee proffering this advice was Chuka Umunna

  9. BBC radio 4 news, last night, repeatedly reported that the IHRA is “widely accepted internationally”.

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